China dominates global eSports | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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One of the key phenomena of 2019, eSports viewing has been on the rise on a worldwide basis but research from Ampere Analysis has shown that Western countries still lag far behind China, where over a quarter of online users watched games in the last month.
Ampere esports 13Jan2020
Data from Ampere Analysis’s consumer polling from Q3 2019 found high profile tournaments have drawn in huge numbers globally. The 2019 Fortnite World Cup reached 20 million global viewers on Amazon-owned Twitch and the FIFA 19 eWorld Cup amassed 50 million global viewers across platforms including YouTube. The League of Legends 2018 World Championship alone had a concurrent audience of 203 million in China compared with just 2 million in the rest of the world.

Despite the clear lead in China, audiences in Western countries were found to be substantial. Research by Ampere Analysis has discovered that between 5%- 9% of Internet users in developed Western markets typically watch esports on a monthly basis via online streaming services.

Denmark and Sweden lead European usage, with 9% and 8% of Internet users in each country watching eSports on at least a monthly basis. Ampere added that given the strong interest in esports in Scandinavia, it was no surprise that regional entertainment group Modern Times Group (MTG) has made numerous investments in the eSports and gaming world. MTG currently controls several competitions and leagues, including ESL and DreamHack.

Interestingly, while the largest global demographic group for eSports was found to be males aged 18-34, audiences were found to be moving away from traditional stereotypes. Ampere calculated that in Q3 2019, 35% of those watching esports in the last month were female, 40% were over 35 and 33% live with young children. In China, the gender mix is more balanced with 43% of viewers female.

That said the key demographic for esports is males aged 18-34, who were shown to be typically highly engaged with video content and are tech-savvy. These consumers are also less likely to view any content via broadcast TV channels and are 25% more likely to subscribe to at least one subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform.

In terms of platforms, Twitch was the principal venue for eSports viewing, hosting a variety of channels through which fans can engage. Ampere also noted that developers have also begun to explore hosting tournaments via their own platforms – relying on the popularity of their games to drive viewership; Tencent-owned Riot Games' streaming service, Pro View, is specifically built for their League of Legends tournaments. That said, the analyst regards Twitch has having a scale advantage and noted the exclusive third-party streaming rights deals that it has struck for events including the Overwatch League through a deal with developer Blizzard.

Commenting on the data, Ampere Analysis analyst Hazel Ford said: “The rise of esports viewing on a global scale presents a potentially lucrative opportunity for new and existing players. Platforms such as Twitch and YouTube are currently market leaders but face growing competition from a number of newcomers, including the developers themselves. As with the traditional sports world, exclusive rights deals will become crucial for platforms looking to control high growth esports audiences.”